I'm involved in a Bible study for the past 6 or 7 years. It started as a Kay Arthur Inductive style study, and it was the first step for me to actually start interacting in my church, getting to know some people, and becoming a part of community. Though we met at a church, not all of us attended the same church. It was a good group of people, and Kay Arthur's Precept study is excellent.
I generally stayed silent in the group, but after several years, I now feel a bit more comfortable. Since then, we now meet in a friend's home and our group has seen some people leave and others added. We come from all different churches and backgrounds, neighborhoods, faiths, and communities. Though this can make things rather messy, it all works as we strive to set aside our opinions and look intently at what the Bible actually has to say about things.
After listening to how many of us really don't love the video that accompanied the study, my friend started writing/compiling/editing her own. The first was a study on James. It was quite simply one of the best studies I've ever done. James is such a straightforward book, quite topical and so relevant to today. Though there was homework, it could easily be done in 20 minutes per night. It was a great fit for all levels and interests. We followed up James with a brief study of Hosea, and the the following year did an 8 week study based on John Piper's The Pleasures of God, then Colossians and Esther. All were quite wonderful.
There is just one thing: I love looking up the cross references. I enjoy summarizing what happened in a chapter. But I have a tendency to be tempted to skip the "Application" questions. You know, the ones where it challenges you to really think about how it applies to you.
It is no secret; and my Bible study leader laughs at me because it is absolutely pointless in reading or studying the Bible if one is not going to have it change and influence one's life!
Here's a few of the application questions from the study in Colossians:
"How have these verses (Luke 1:69-75, Romans 8:29, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 2:11-12, 2 Peter 1:5-10, Ephesians 5:1-2) inspired you to a deeper commitment to "continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel?"
"In what way do you have a sweeter appreciation for your reconciliation to the Father through Christ? "
Now, those are the easy questions: Try these ones:
"What does it mean to you that your competence is in Christ alone? How are you connected to and in Christ? Do you feel and know it? If not, why not?"
"The spiritual disciplines (such as prayer, reading the Bible, and meditation) are crucial means to know and grow in Christ and produce more maturity and fruit. How can these practices become a way to manipulate God's will? What can you do to make sure your practice of the faith is sincere and God-honoring rather than manipulating? "
Now, the strange thing: I'm naturally introspective but I have the hardest time writing down the answers to these questions, let alone sharing them in a group! Really: I don't like application questions! In Bible studies, church or in blogs!
So, that being said, I'll leave you with an application question!
Ha. Just kidding.